By Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
Kano State Governor, Alhaji Abdullai Ganduje and his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Wike, friday engaged in war of words over the National Assembly rerun billed to be conducted in the on the10th of December.
The Kano State Governor, while reacting to questions from State House Correspondents on his preparation for the election, having been made the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s campaign committee for the election, said he was determined to ensure a free and fair election in Rivers because having such was not normal in that part of the country.
Ganduje said “We are prepared, we just came out of the Ondo elections, we have fresh ideas even though both environments are different but we have our own strategies. Like in Ondo State we must ensure we have free and fair elections.
“You know in that part of the country having free and fair elections is not normal and we have to make it normal this time. We must ensure that there is security so that people will come out and vote. That’s our main preoccupation at the moment. We are making wider consultations with stakeholders and we believe we will succeed.”
Wike, who reacted to Ganduje in a telephone interview said “It is unfortunate if he said so. As far as I am concerned, elections have been normal in my part of the country. All we are asking for is free and fair election.
“Is Governor Ganduje speaking on behalf of INEC? Is he the one conducting the elections now?
“I have respect for him as an elderly person but his statement is unfortunate. We are waiting for him to come and perform the magic he did in Kano State.”
Responding to question on his reason for visiting President Muhammadu Buhari behind closed door friday, Ganduje said their discussion centered on a possible spillage of Boko Haram insurgents into Kano following the recent victory of the Nigerian Army over the elements in Sambisa Forest, Borno State.
According to him, necessary security arrangements had been made to contain the fleeing insurgents who might want to make Kano another attractive destination for the continuation of their nefarious activities against the country.
He said “I came to visit the president on the security situation in Kano, especially the fallout from the north western part of the country in which some of the Boko Haram and Kidnappers will like to dominate the forest. To come back from Sambisa forest so that they can be operating from another part of the north western part of the country. So, the security agencies are working very hard. A lot of arrests have been made and investigation is going on. We won’t allow them to dominate Kano and make it as a launching pad. As a cosmopolitan city, Kano is an attractive place for such elements to come in. The security agencies have apprehended about three or four of them.”
The governor also hinted that his state would be hosting the first Lagos/Kano economic summit soon.
Ganduje said “We appointed a technical committee (that) is working on that. We are examining the business relationship between Lagos and Kano. We take advantage of each state is having and we will invite Mr. President to the summit. The summit will hold in Kano. The governor of Lagos State has agreed it should hold in Kano.
“There are similarities between Lagos and Kano. Both are mega cities. Lagos is the largest commercial city in Nigeria while Kano is the largest commercial city in the north. We are both cosmopolitan and our developmental challenges are the same in terms of providing social amenities, security, urbanisation. There is a need to look inward now that money is going down so we need to take comparative advantage of both states. We have farmers and lot of agriculture production and Lagos, they are consumers and they also process and they have higher industries than Kano. This is the kind of relationship we can develop and we believe it will work,” he added.